Produce for Kids

Caramelized Butternut Squash

If butternut squash is looked at with skeptic eyes from your kids, this recipe for caramelized butternut squash will have them singing a different tune. With a few kitchen staples, like butter, brown sugar and cinnamon, you can turn butternut squash into a recipe that kids will ask for again and again.

In my home, butternut squash remains a cautionary yellow light food, meaning my kids proceed with caution. They are still leery of this bright orange veggie which shows up in the fall. I love the comforting flavor of squash and present it in new ways to get my family on board.

Today, I have a new strategy, and it involves butter and sugar. You might be thinking butter and sugar have no place around veggies, it defeats the purpose. I thought that once as well.

Let me tell you a story. It’s about a salad bar…

Imagine your old grade school cafeteria – the terrazzo flooring, the rows of tables and metal chairs, the mint green lunch trays – that’s where I was headed. To be the Foodservice Director, working to spice up the hot lunch program at my children’s school.

My first task was optimizing veggies – with a salad bar. Out went the Tupperware container of iceberg lettuce next to the tiny container of carrots. Appetizing, it was not.

On the first day of school, the shiny new salad bar was ready for the children, I was thrilled watching children excited about veggies!

But I have a confession. I stretched the rules in that cafeteria. What did I do? I served full fat ranch dressing & I allowed children to come back to the salad bar for seconds.

When the kids were finished with their meal and were still hungry, they could come back for veggies, and I found that if kids could dip veggies in a flavorful dip they liked, they ate their veggies. It was as simple as that.

I didn’t start serving full fat ranch right away. I served the fat-free variety at first and watched. On fat-free ranch days, the news spread like wildfire and not so many veggies were eaten. On full fat ranch days, the veggie consumption increased multiple times over.

I learned a lot from watching those children over the course of 3 years. I have applied these lessons to my own home, maybe you’ll consider doing the same when you need a little help with veggies your children don’t love – yet.

So, I added the butter and sugar. And it was delicious. And my kids thought so too.

Caramelized Butternut Squash

Caramelized Butternut Squash

With a few kitchen staples, like butter, brown sugar and cinnamon, you can turn butternut squash into a recipe that kids will ask for again and again.

Yield: 6 servings
Prep Time: 10 minutes
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 40 minutes

Ingredients

  • 1 medium butternut squash,
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 2 tablespoons brown sugar
  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 400°F.
  2. Peel squash using vegetable peeler. Cut in half lengthwise and scoop out the seeds with a spoon. Chop into cubes and place on baking sheet.
  3. Mix butter, brown sugar, cinnamon, salt and pepper in small bowl. Pour over squash and mix.
  4. Bake 25-30 minutes, flipping squash halfway through, until soft and caramelized.
  5. Alternatively, this recipe can be made in a slow cooker. Add all ingredients and cook on low 6-8 hours or high 2-4 hours.
Nutrition Information:
Yield: 6
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 116Total Fat: 6gCholesterol: 15mgSodium: 393mgCarbohydrates: 18gFiber: 4gSugar: 6gProtein: 1g

Did you make this recipe?

Tag @ProduceForKids on Instagram or use #ProduceforKids to share with us!

Jodi Danen

About the Author

Jodi Danen

Jodi Danen is a registered dietitian and mother of two elementary-aged budding chefs. She is the voice of Create Kids Club, a food and nutrition blog for parents who desire healthy family meals but are short on time. Her recipes are simple to prepare, have a short ingredient list, and focus on fresh foods. With her background in school nutrition, she is passionate about getting children in the kitchen cooking at young ages & believes this is key to forming healthy habits for life.

1 Comment on Caramelized Butternut Squash

Leave a comment »
  1. It works really well for me

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *